Towson University’s club flag football team held an impromptu scrimmage Tuesday night at Burdick field, the final score was 21-20. Intramural director Dave Stewart reached out to club president Akeem Mustafa about bringing the team to the field in order help new student referees practice – a favor that may not have been granted last year.
The teams were split into seven that wore pennies, and seven that did not – a shirts team. The Quarterbacks for the penny team were Cameron Cunningham and Cullen Joyce; the shirts had Zach Zalovick and John Purdy. Pennies prevailed with a fantastic interception by Sean Sullivan in the final quarter.
Game Winner: Sean Sullivan making an interception at the opponent’s end zone – he took the ball all the way to the other end, cinching a win for the penny team.
Cunningham was not at peak performance, throwing two interceptions. Purdy performed well, completing a lot of his passes and scoring a touchdown. Cullen did a lot of scrambling and scored two rushing touchdowns. Zalovick, who impressed, threw one touchdown.
Billy Haddish has become a team favorite through his sheer athleticism, demonstrated in the scrimmage. This season is his first playing football, yet he caught the most balls and had the most completions throughout the game. He remained throughout the game as other members were swapped out for fresh players on the sideline.
Club flag football has undergone a sort of rebirth this semester under Mustafa’s presidency. The club suffered from irresponsible decisions and attitude from leadership preceding him – something Mustafa saw as a member and set out to change.
After seven years, Towson’s club flag football team had begun to crumble from a lack of decisive and responsible leadership. Mustafa, now in his senior year, had been on the team since his freshman year, and he knew what the club needed – discipline and accountability.
A close call: Tre Deva falls short of grabbing Billy Haddish’s flag.
“Where we are at this point is pretty amazing, and I’m proud,” said Mustafa. “There were some doubts that you know, we would even have the club again this year.
Julianna Harvey has been a graduate advisor for intramural sports for two years, and witnessed firsthand the effect Mustafa’s leadership has had, even this early on in the year.
“The team has drastically changed since last year. It was evident that the leadership wanted to participate in flag football last year, but there was a huge amount of apathy in regards to club management and development,” said Harvey. “I do not see that at all meeting with Akeem every week. Our program has a lot of deadlines and expectations, but he has been willing and able to do the work and put in the time to meet them.”
“There were a lot of things [the previous president] didn’t do right during my junior year. Missing weekly meetings and having various violations,” said Mustafa.
One of these violations include what Mustafa refers to as “the pillow incident.” Last year the club participated in the University of Albany Flag Football clinic, a tournament comprised of various flag football teams along the East Coast. Jared Frazier, the president at the time, decided to take a pillow from the hotel the team stayed at. That choice followed the team all the way back to Towson.
At the end of his college career, Frazier chose not to write the punitive essay assigned to him by Towson’s disciplinary board, instead abandoning the club altogether. To clear the club’s name, Mustafa wrote the essay himself.
“Their actions fell on us, and there’s just a lot of picking up to do with restoring the club, because we didn’t want to be seen as the club that has issues,” said Mustafa.
As the winners of last year’s tournament in Albany, Towson’s team won a free bid to attend again this year. Mustafa has no intention of repeating last years mistake. A changed team will be present.